The List of Top 7 Prisons in Northern California

A close look at The List of Top 7 Prisons in Northern California

The state of California in the United States is vast, and it has many prisons. While some correctional facilities are in northern California, others are in the southern part. If you’re living in northern California, you must learn about the top 7 prisons there. 

We’ve researched and prepared the list based on features like inmate living conditions, security, and academic and work programs for prisoners. Here’s what you need to know about these correctional facilities. 

Top 7 Prisons in Northern California

The northern part of California has several prisons, but only 7 are considered to be ranked in the “Top List.” These are: 

01. Mule Creek State Prison

Although Mule Creek State Prison in northern California is one of the overpopulated correctional facilities, it’s still considered an excellent prison for prisoners. While it can keep 3,284 inmates, there are 3,785 prisoners (15.2% more inmates are kept). 

It was established in 1987, and the current warden is Patrick Covello. Here’s why it’s a top-class prison: it offers inmates proper medical care, keeps them under strict rules, and ensures that criminals learn further through educational and vocational programs so that they never seek an illegal path again after release. 

02. Pelican Bay State Prison

Pelican Bay State Prison was built in northern California in 1989. It’s a supermax prison meaning it keeps the most violent and notorious criminals. Currently, it’s holding only 69.4% of its capacity (1,654 inmates). 

As of December 2022, Stephen Smith is the warden of this correctional facility. It can still house more criminals as its total capacity is 2,380. However, to maintain a safe environment, Pelican Bay State Prison keeps fewer offenders. 

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Both inmates and employees are safe from one another. Convicts also get necessary services, including education and a chance to learn new works. 

03. Avenal State Prison

The Avenal State Prison, located in Avenal, California, is also another top correctional facility from the northern portion. It has both minimum and medium-security level prisoners.

It came into existence in January 1987 with a capacity of 2,920. However, it has 39.1% more prisoners than it can hold. 

The current population is 4,062. With this big population, it can still operate things properly inside the prison.

The staff treats inmates with love and respect, which helps them have stable mental health. Moreover, inmates are encouraged to join several great academic and industrial programs. 

04. Pleasant Valley State Prison

Opened in 1994, the Pleasant Valley State Prison is another great correctional facility in northern California. Like the other prisons, it lets its inmates join different schooling and working programs. 

The Prison Industry Authority (PIA) is a helpful program for inmates. Although its holding capacity is 2,308, the inmate population is 2,688 (16.4% more).

There are minimum to maximum security level criminals. Scott A. Frauenheim is the current warden of Pleasant Valley State Prison. 

05. Salinas Valley State Prison

The Salinas Valley State Prison is the last in our Top 7 prisons in California. In May 1996, Salinas Valley State Prison was established in Monterey County near Soledad, California. It’s a maximum security level prison with a capacity of keeping 2,867 prisoners. 

But currently houses 2,941 inmates, which is 2.5% more than it should house. However, in this correctional facility, inmates are given many benefits.

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They can utilize their rights, like talking to their family members and getting gifts, packages, and letters sent to them.

06. High Desert State Prison

The High Desert State Prison in northern California was built in September 2000. It has two security levels, medium and maximum. According to reports, it can keep 4,176 inmates. 

For some reason, the actual number of current prisoners isn’t revealed. Critics think that this could mean that the correctional facility is overcrowded. However, there’s no such evidence against the claims. 

Calvin Johnson is High Desert State Prison’s warden. This correctional institution is thought to be one of the best for inmate facilities. There is less news of inmate-to-inmate violence, meaning the environment inside the prison is safe.

Moreover, inmates can easily access their basic rights like enrolling for studies, applying for work, and contacting family members through the mail. 

07. Kern Valley State Prison

Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California, is a male-only correctional facility. It’s a level IV facility with maximum security.

In June 2006, it was made with a capacity of 2,448 inmates. But you will be surprised to know that 18.7% of additional prisoners (2,907 total population) serve their sentences here. 

It’s a bit populated, yet an excellent prison. Kern Valley State Prison manages its Inmates very well by offering them academic certificates and job training. They also encourage prisoners to join regular counseling therapies to stabilize their mental health. 

The main concentration of this prison is rehabilitation, making it a top-rated northern California correctional institution.

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Final Words

Northern California has some of the most prominent correctional facilities in the United States. Each has unique advantages and disadvantages.

But the prisons in our list have the most benefits, so they are considered the top 7 prisons.

Thanks to their effective rehabilitation programs, these correctional facilities helped many inmates get a better life after release. 

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